Politics & Prophecy: A Lawyer’s View of the End Times
Part 4 – The Conquest of Evil
by Gerald R. Thompson
We have mentioned Christianity and Islam many times already, but now it is time for a brief comparison. Both Christianity and Islam have very detailed and specific end times eschatologies, based on their respective sacred writings and a long tradition of interpretation. In some significant respects these two eschatologies are essentially a point-by-point antiparallel to each other. That is, all the bad guys in Christian prophecy are the good guys in Islamic prophecy, and vice versa.
Hence, the Muslim Messiah (al-Mahdi, or the Mahdi) is the biblical Antichrist, meaning the Muslim savior is the Christian main villain. Similarly, the Muslim anti-Christ (ad-Dajjal, or the Dajjal) is the biblical Messiah, meaning the Muslim main villain is the Christian savior (although in Islam he is perceived as a very Jewish Messiah). The upshot of which is that the biblical Jesus is the Muslim anti-Christ.
At this point you might be wondering how Jesus Christ can be the “anti-Christ” in Islam. Well, here we have a distinction in terminology. First of all, Christ simply means messiah. When the Bible says Jesus Christ, it means Jesus is the Messiah. Similarly (but in opposite world), when Muslims claim the Mahdi is their Messiah, it means he is their Christ. Therefore, the person who opposes the Mahdi, to Muslims, will be an anti-Christ. And the person who will oppose the Mahdi is Jesus Christ.
But there is more. Muslims “believe in Jesus,” as it were, as a prophet before Mohammed, but they deny that Jesus is God or the son of God. That still leaves room in Islamic theology and eschatology for a person called Isa, which is the Arabic name for Jesus. Isa is supposed to be Jesus who comes back to assist the Mahdi in implementing Islam worldwide. In other words, Isa (to Muslims) is what Christians call the False Prophet,. The Muslim Jesus (Isa) is the opposite of the biblical Jesus.
Confused yet? You are supposed to be confused. From Satan’s perspective, confusion and deceit are the whole point. Rev. 12:7. Thus, Muslims believe in a Messiah figure who will usher in a golden age, but a golden age of Islam. Muslims believe in the return of Jesus (clever!), but only as Isa, a subordinate to the Mahdi to promote Islam. Muslims believe in both the biblical Antichrist and the biblical False Prophet (Mahdi and Isa), but to them these are both good guys. And, the biblical Messiah is the Muslim anti-Christ (the Dajjal).
• Christians view Jesus Christ as waging war against the Antichrist; Muslims view the Dajjal as waging war against the Mahdi. (The same actors, and the same war.)
• Christians believe the Antichrist will use false signs and wonders to deceive; Muslims believe the Dajjal will use false signs and wonders to deceive.
• We have seen how the Antichrist is likely to be a Muslim; Muslims believe the anti-Christ will be Jewish.
• Christians believe Jesus Christ is the promised Jewish Messiah; Muslims believe the Dajjal is the promised Jewish Messiah, which will only confirm to them that he is evil!
These antiparallels are too striking to be mere coincidence, or an accident. No other religion compares, or anti-compares, with Christianity in this way. I conclude there must be an overriding design in all of this. Since Islam came along later, it must have been intentionally designed to be the opposite of Christianity. Res ipsa loquitor – the thing speaks for itself.
All I can say is, Christianity and Islam cannot both be right. Only one will win out in the end. It would be great to watch this whole thing play out as a spectator. Unfortunately, at least on earth, there will be no spectators. There will be no fence-sitting, no neutral ground, and no observation decks. Everyone will be forced to choose a side. In fact, I think that’s the whole point.
Rev. 9:1, 2, 11 – And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. … They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
Rev. 11:7; 17:8 – And when [the two witnesses] have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them. … The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction.
Rev. 20:1-2 – Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized … Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him.
The reason we are considering the abyss in detail at this point is because we have already discussed Armageddon, when the forces of evil are defeated. Further, we have looked at the Satanic Trinity in some detail. What is now left to consider is what happens to each of the members of the Satanic Trinity immediately after Armageddon.
Rev. 19:20 tells us that at Armageddon when the satanic forces are killed by Jesus, the Antichrist and the False Prophet will be captured alive and thrown into the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. In other words, they are immediately committed to hell. But Satan is treated differently. He is cast into the abyss with a great chain, and the abyss is shut and sealed over for a thousand years. Thus, he is imprisoned where he can do no harm to anyone on earth, but not forever.
Interestingly, there is no further mention of the demonic angels. Revelation does not directly say whether they go back into the abyss, or end up in the lake of fire. What happens to them? I can only assume they are no longer free to plague mankind during the Millennium, because the very nature of the Millennium precludes their presence. Most likely they will spend the Millennium in the abyss, and eternity in hell, along with Satan.
The purpose of the abyss, or bottomless pit, appears to be primarily to hold fallen angels (demons) until they are released either as a judgment on the earth or to face judgment themselves. Thus, we see in Lk. 8:31 that the demons possessing the man from Gerasenes implored Jesus not to send them to the abyss.
I take it they made this request because being in the abyss would imprison them and keep them from wreaking havoc in the world on behalf of Satan (which they would want to continue). They may also consider the abyss to be an unpleasant place (possibly a place of darkness), although I can find no indication that the abyss is a place of torment.
The abyss seems to be simply a prison for angelic beings. We have already seen in Rev. 9 (the 5th Trumpet) that in the Tribulation the dark armies of Satan (i.e., demon hordes) will be released to torture people for five months. These are, I would guess, all the demons who have been cast out of people and into the abyss since the First Advent. It may possibly include other fallen angels cast into the abyss directly from heaven directly by God.
Rev. 9:11 indicates that Satan, the king of the demons, is also “the angel of the bottomless pit.” So he rules over the inmates of the abyss, but is not imprisoned by it himself at this time. At the same time, he cannot release his demon hordes until God gives him the key, which he does not now have. Rev. 9:1. So when we are twice told that the beast “rises from the bottomless pit” (Rev. 11:7; 17:8), this is probably a reference to demonic activity in each case.
Where is the abyss? Based on Lk. 8:31, the abyss must be a place that presently exists, and this is consistent with the scriptures in Revelation. However, I do not expect it to exist once the new creation gets here. At that time, all who are wicked – including the fallen angels – will inhabit the lake of fire, or hell, for eternity. See Mat. 25:41. There will be no need for a temporary prison such as the abyss.
Does the abyss have a physical location or is it solely in a spiritual realm? No one can say. My first guess is that it exists in the spiritual realm, similar to Hades (the grave) and Paradise. It is hard to conceive that any place on earth could be truly bottomless, or that any earthly location could be inescapable for an angel. If it were on earth, its location would have to be kept a secret, and frankly I don’t think God has any hidden vaults on the earth.
The abyss could potentially exist in the heavens, which is to say, outer space (second heaven). But this is pure speculation, and God is not limited to physical phenomena. That is, He does not need a physical place to hold fallen angels any more than He needs an atomic bomb to defeat the Antichrist. God is perfectly capable of confining demons anywhere and anyway He wants. The location of the abyss and the key that will unlock it are known to God alone.